Saturday, September 29, 2007

Visibility

Kate Harding has put together a flickr stream of photographs of people with their BMI category (underweight, normal, overweight, obese, morbidly obese) listed, and it's a total breath of fresh air. One of the things that's always bothered me about the portrayal of fat people in the media is that for the most part, there just isn't one. Bumps are photoshopped away, thin people wear fat suits, plus-sized models wear constrictive undergarments, and people in Hollywood seem to only come in two sizes (XXL and XS). Actually seeing people of a variety of sizes - and realizing how much they represent the people you see around yourself every day - is annoyingly rare.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Upside-down cardamom pear cake

I thought of pears, for a long time, as the worst part of fruit cocktail, except perhaps the maraschino cherry. As far as I was concerned, they were tasteless, gritty, misshapen apples, and not worth my time. Eating underripe pears only confirmed my beliefs, and it wasn't until a couple of years ago that I finally bit into a somewhat post-ripe, juicy, soft red pear and fell in love.

I also have to say - I think pears are sexy. A pear just on the wrong side of ripeness and incredibly fragrant and juicy can't not remind you of soft, curvy female flesh.


This recipe comes from the 2006 November Cooking Light, and embodies everything I love about fall cooking. You can find the Cooking Light recipe here, but epicurious has a richer version that I'm sure is to die for. I followed the CL recipe to the letter for the pictured cake (which I enjoyed tonight with my husband), though I'd recommend doubling the amount of cardamom caramel, since what I made didn't quite cover the area I'd have liked it to. What came out was a not-too-sweet cake (think coffee cake) with a spicy-fruity aroma whose intensity surprised me when I flipped over and removed the cake pan. Vanilla ice cream would be a nice with this cake served warm, but I'm sure that allowing it to soak up a few tablespoons of cream would be just as delicious, if you're not in the mood for something quite as sweet.

Why do you think I stuck with the username "yellownumber5" for so long?

Amen, xkcd.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blogroll shuffling

FYI, I've added a del.icio.us sidebar and updated my blogroll a little bit. It's always a work in progress, but I've added a few links to the regional and feminist links, so check 'em out.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Strange

Joe Francis hasn't published my email I wrote him on his website. I wonder why.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Is anyone else as amused by this as I am?

Kudos, bloggers of color

Dave Niewert wrote an apologetic post of belated coverage of the Jena 6 story, and I thought this sentiment was worth highligting:
None of the top-tier liberal bloggers paid the Jena situation much attention in the weeks leading up to the march, and those of us on the left dedicated to civil-rights and race issues -- like myself -- tended to let it slide. The bloggers who made this happen were all "bloggers of color" whose own burgeoning network turned out to be truly potent.

Fortunately, their energies made the difference in Jena, and now the whole world is watching and paying attention. That includes those of us who should have been doing so in the first place.
You know, he's right. I'm just as guilty of staying in my whiteosphere comfort zone as any of the top-tier bloggers who've been criticized, and I can't think of a more appropriate reminder of it than the impressive display of passion and action that can be very much be attributed to the organizing of bloggers of color. I'm sorry that I had to be made to pay attention, sorry to the students in Jena and everyone else who's felt their frustration.

Why - why is there such injustice in the world?

Forget* the Jena 6. If there's someone who's been the victim of a miscarriage of justice, it's Joe Francis of Girls Gone Wild infamy. He's taken it upon himself to create a website explaining how he's been done wrong, and even wants to hear from you, his fans. I know I was inspired to write him after hearing his tale of woe. Any f-words readers who are similarly inspired are encouraged to do the same.

* In light of the fact that a bunch of people apparently have forgotten, I should maybe make it clear I'm being sarcastic, and would rather we not forget the Jena 6 even as we engage in a little schadenfreude over the situation of ol' Joe.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Would we have to call her a "Justicette?"

Idaho today became one of two states in the Union to have a Supreme Court with zero women on the bench. It's a dubious distinction that's displeased more than a few Idahoans. From the Idaho Statesman:

Peg Dougherty, the vice president of the Idaho Women Lawyers organization, said Otter's decision to appoint a man to Trout's seat "puts the state at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting smart women lawyers to the state."

"Idaho Women Lawyers is extremely disappointed that the governor did not take advantage of this opportunity to show leadership and place a woman on the Idaho Supreme Court," she said.

Our esteemed governor, not to mention the new justice himself, don't see what the big fuss is about, however.

Otter said he didn't fill the seat with an eye for gender. Instead, he looked for balance on the court and considered the applicants' ratings by the Idaho Judicial Commission, which vetted all hopefuls first, and comments from attorneys around the state.

"I didn't see this as a gender seat. What I looked for was the best candidate," Otter said.

And from the nominee himself:

Horton, however, said he didn't think gender would be an issue in the high court's rulings.

"My flip answer is that as a male, I wouldn't know," Horton joked.

Me, I don't find his answer all that funny, because it's a fantastic demonstration of the kind of sexism that's being displayed by both men here; the male is the standard, while the female is something different, something extra, that isn't required of a body that's supposed to exhibit a balance of understanding that make for a more robust interpretation of law. Otter doesn't "see this as a gender seat," because when he hears "gender" he thinks "not-male person." But clearly, Horton is working a gender identity (male), one that comes with the privilege that allows he and his superiors to pretend to completely ignore it.

How do we know that it's pretending to be gender-blind that's led to an all-male bench, and not true gender blindness? Because the chances of a court's members coming out to be 100% male in an age where a large proportion of successful attorneys are female are very slim. Looking at the numbers, it becomes clear that something is biasing the appointments towards men.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich...but don't make it too good.

In honor of Jessica's upcoming book about the greatest hits of sexist double-standards, I wanted to bring up this doozy of an article comparing female and male chefs that I found on Slashfood. The short story: don't pay attention to the fussy ladies and eat real man food.

Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith have come under fire for writing cookery instructions that are too difficult to follow.

Female celebrity chefs, it seems, are harder to understand in print than their male counterparts, peppering their books with complex language.

...
It found that 5.2million adults in the UK would be unable to follow Nigella's cooking methods as she uses longer sentences and tends to write in a "chatty" style, mixing in personal observations with her instructions.

Delia Smith's culinary teaching was also criticised for having too many stages and using measurements confusing for anyone with poor numeracy skills.

She also sprinkles too many adjectives into her recipes
This pronouncement from a survey of the cookbooks from five different chefs - three male and two female. The dynamics around power and gender in the kitchen are widely-understood enough to be featured in a Disney movie, and work out to be one of the stupider double-standards I've seen. Cooking is a woman's job, and a woman's place is in the kitchen, nurturing and feeding her family - but if you want to actually be paid to practice your craft, and encouraged in expressing yourself creatively with food, you'd damn well better be a man. But if you're a real man, you don't want fancy schmancy food you get in a fancy schmancy restaurant - you want cholesterol-laden, factory-produced bean lard mulch.

I haven't read any of these books (I've flipped through Lawson's books in stores, but that's as far as I've gotten), but given the by-the-book stereotyping this article engages in, I don't know that the reviewer would have to either. The women are "chatty" and embellish too much, while the men are direct and more efficient in their communication. Of course, they could have said that Lawson's more casual style is easier to approach for non-chefs or people bored by plain recipes, but since being "chatty" is associated with female, it has to be a drawback. It makes me think of how Rachael Ray on her 30 Minute Meals show always refers self-deprecatingly to herself as a "Chatty Cathy," and excuses herself for talking so much - even though she's the only one on-camera for a half hour. Are we expected to watch her cook in silence for a half hour? Given Ray's phenomenal media success, she's not doing herself any harm in talking through hours of television every day. But by playing up the feminine stereotypes expected of her, she can get people to watch her without feeling threatened, and then get flack for it, just like Lawson.

As it turns out, some of my favorite cookbooks are more casually written, and though it's sometimes the lack of specifics that makes people's recipes go bad, I've found that people shy away from cooking for lots of reasons - not just that they would rather learn to cook from a Real Man.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

8:20 AM, first sexist news story spotted

A screencap from CNN.com this morning:


ARGH! I love how something that empowers a woman to take care of herself is pitched as only being useful to attract men. Because that's the motivation behind whatever women do, right?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Saw Superbad

Hooray for anti-date-rape messages in popular culture!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Portland

It just so happened that most of the people I'm related to came to Portland, OR this weekend, so I ended up coming as well. No interesting thoughts, but here's a picture from last evening.